Autism 101: A few words about processing

Autism 101 is a series to dispel misconceptions about Asperger’s and Autism in general. I write this post with the help of my 7 year old son, Brady. I could not express these opinions without his input or approval.

Let’s talk about processing. Processing is a fundamental concept when talking about autism.

Take the example of this old fashioned typewriter–it’s the best way I know to show processing. It has keys and you type by entering keys, one by one to form words,

A typewriter has keys

but sometimes there is too much going on, and it’s like when this typewriter has five or six keys mashed together

Too many things are going on and I’m stuck

The keys jam together and Brady freezes up. Things that make this happen are large groups. A noisy setting. School is full of small events that “make the keys jam together”

It doesn’t feel very good and if you don’t have a word for it or a nice visual like a typewriter with the keys jammed together, it can get a little scary. It becomes less scary when you understand it.

That’s Brady with his hand up. It’s a birthday party. It’s a hot day. It’s all getting to be a little bit too much. He’s asking for a break.

Brady can tell he’s having a tough time at the birthday party. He’s asking for a break. How can he make it better?

Taking a little break before joining the fray. Building in breaks and having good friends put the fun into the day.

Different things. A little bit of time. Having my classmates and friends know that I’m processing. Do you think other people might have processing problems or do you think only someone with Asperger’s?

Comments and questions are welcome!!
Thanks for stopping by my page.



9 thoughts on “Autism 101: A few words about processing

  1. This reminds me of Regan – she has so much going on in her head it sometimes gets difficult processing it all before it comes out. This is also a great analogy for Stuttering. Thanks to both of you for sharing this.

  2. Brady, I think lots of people have processing problems and not just people with Asperger’s. The world is too busy for most people, but they pretend they are getting by. I think pretending something like that just causes more problems and it is better to slow down and understand what is going on around you. I don’t like feeling rushed to understand. it takes the fun out of learning something new.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts. – Josi

  3. Hi Brady,
    Great article. I really enjoyed reading it. I love the explanation with the jammed typewriter. It made it easier to understand. I do get processing problem from time to time when I try to do too many things at the same time or think too much. And then I get mad and frustrated. But now I know that I just need to take a break and take it slow. ;))


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